Nurtured by Nature

Exploring the Alberni Valley through our Parks, Lakes, Forests and Mountains

For those who love outdoor activities, from hiking, trail running, and mountain biking to swimming, fishing and kayaking or even kiteboarding and windsurfing, the Alberni Valley is a dream destination. But even if adventure is lower on your list, you can still enjoy all of the incredible surroundings offered by nature, and experience their healing force. Discover for yourself how spending time in nature can boost physical and mental health in a range of ways. A vacation for all of your senses, you will trade screen time for the soothing palette of nature, and deep breaths of  fresh air and nature sounds will erase the tension of urban rush. Get your heart pumping with a an invigorating dip into a lake or with views from a mountain top. From end to end, there’s natural beauty, friendly people, and endless adventures available in the Alberni Valley.

Easy Ways to Connect with Nature

Here is a small sampling of places in and around Port Alberni to enjoy nature. While easy to spend a full day in any one location, you can also pick more than one and pack a picnic lunch to enjoy along the way. Remember to dress for the weather, including a rain jacket and layers in winter and spring, pack your reusable water bottle, and to carry out your trash.

Cathedral Grove / MacMillan Provincial Park

MacMillan Provincial Park, also known as Cathedral Grove, greets visitors approaching the Alberni Valley from the east along Highway 4. Stop and appreciate the ancient Western Red Cedars and towering Douglas firs—some as old as 800 years—while strolling the shaded trails and boardwalks on either side of the highway.

Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere

Established in 1996 to raise awareness for the biodiversity of watersheds on Vancouver Island’s Mount Arrowsmith and adjacent marine areas, the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region (MABR) is an officially designated a UNESCO biosphere reserve. Connect with nature through one of the many programs, such as the Adventures in a Backpack where you can download adventures to explore the beauty of this biosphere. The MABR is part of the Amazing Places initiative: an incredible way to discover the beauty and importance of the natural world around us. Visit 10 Amazing Places to discover the hidden magic of the Alberni Valley.

Mount Arrowsmith

Mount Arrowsmith dominates the skyline to the east over Port Alberni. If you’re a mountain climber with experience, try the Judges Route to the summit or scramble up the West Ridge.

fishing port alberni salmon in the alberni valley

Sproat Lake

West of Port Alberni on Highway 4, Sproat Lake is over 25 kilometres long with over 300 kilometres of shoreline. The warmest freshwater lake on Vancouver Island, you will find many cottages and year-round residences, as well as three provincial parks on its shores: Sproat Lake Provincial Park, Taylor Arm Provincial Park, and Fossli Provincial Park. Sproat Lake is a popular recreation spot for swimming and Stand Up paddle boards (SUP), canoes and kayaks, and all kinds of power boating, fishing, waterskiing, and wakeboarding.

Cameron Lake in the Alberni Valley

Cameron Lake

Cameron Lake is on Highway 4, just east of Coombs on the westward road to Port Alberni. With Mount Arrowsmith to the south and Mt. Wesley to the north, Cameron Lake is a popular summer spot to take a swim in the lake or have a picnic at Little Qualicum Provincial Park.

Great Central Lake

Great Central Lake is 35 kilometres long and is about 16 kilometres northeast of Port Alberni. The lake is a popular spot for fishing, boating, skiing, wakeboarding, swimming, hiking, camping, and ATVing.

waterfalls in the alberni valley west coast Canada Vancouver Island

Stamp Falls / Stamp Falls Provincial Park

As part of the Stamp Falls Provincial Park, the water from the Stamp River thunders over these small falls, located just downstream from the campground. The falls are an excellent place to watch salmon jumping on their spawning path from late summer to autumn, and sometimes you’ll see black bears and bald eagles enjoying a bountiful lunch.

Della Falls

The Della Falls Trail is accessed by water taxi on Great Central Lake. The trail is only 16 kilometres long and takes you to the highest waterfall in Canada (440 metres or 1,443 feet high). This is an overnight hike requiring proper equipment.

For more information on Dell Falls and Stamp Falls – checkout our guide Discover the Best Waterfall Hikes in the Alberni Valley.